Dinosaurs and tomatoes couldn’t be more different, but new research shows that their paths may have been drastically altered by the same single event. A recent tomato genome analysis has linked the plant’s red color to the very meteorite responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs over 60 million years ago! The stressful conditions created by the meteorite’s impact caused the tomato’s ancestor to beef up in order to survive, forming the lush red fruits we nosh on today.
The tomato genome research has traced the development of the plant back 60 to 70 million years, when it suddenly grew to three times its size, likely because it was forced into survival mode. The epic meteor crash caused a solar eclipse that made surviving on Earth a tough feat, one that the dinosaurs couldn’t pull through. Plant life was also severely strained, with many becoming extinct as well.
But while forced in survival mode, the tomato plant prepared itself to grow into the delicious fruit we know today. Its fruit bearing capabilities were already developed before the meteor’s impact, but after the climate and environment calmed down, the tomato ancestor was forced to adapt for survival.
Researchers have concluded that its red color was acquired in part because of the meteor crash, as well as its ediblity. Incredibly, the genetic makeup of tomato plants all around the world can be traced to these tomato plant ancestors, proving the link between the dinosaur extinction causing meteor and the common red fleshy fruits.